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Tag: Iran

Iran Ordered to Pay Ex-FBI Agent Robert Levinson’s Family $1.45B in Damages for His Kidnapping

Robert Levinson disappeared while in Iran.

By Steve Neavling

A U.S. judge has ordered Iran’s government to pay $1.45 billion to the family of former FBI agent Robert A. Levinson, whose 2007 disappearance while on an unauthorized CIA mission remains a mystery.

U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Kelly last week awarded Iran to pay Levinson’s family $1.35 billion in punitive damages and $107 million in compensatory damages for his kidnapping, Reuters reported Monday.

Some intelligence officials believe Levinson may be dead, but the search for him has never ended. 

“This judgment is the first step in the pursuit of justice for Robert Levinson, an American patriot, who was kidnapped and subjected to unimaginable suffering for more than 13 years,” Levinson’s family said in a statement. 

“Until now, Iran has faced no consequences for its actions. Judge Kelly’s decision won’t bring Bob home, but we hope that it will serve as a warning against further hostage-taking by Iran,” the family said. “We intend to find any and every avenue, and pursue all options, to seek justice for Robert Levinson.” 

Reuters was unable to reach a spokesman for Iran’s mission to the U.N. for comment.  

Levinson, who would be 72 today, disappeared while on a CIA operation on Kish Island in Iran in March 2027.  The Iranian government initially responded that it had detained Levinson but soon backed off that story and has since maintained it has no idea about Levinson’s whereabouts.

Family of Ex-FBI Agent Robert Levinson Gives Up Hope He’s Still Alive

Robert Levinson

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

After years of urging the Iranian government to release Robert Levinson, the family of the retired FBI agent who vanished in Iran in 2007, has given up hope that he’s still alive.

“Today, with aching hearts, we are sharing devastating news about Robert Levinson, the head of our family,” the family said in a statement on a website dedicated to freeing Levinson. “We recently received information from U.S. officials that has led both them and us to conclude that our wonderful husband and father died while in Iranian custody.  We don’t know when or how he died, only that it was prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is impossible to describe our pain. Our family will spend the rest of our lives without the most amazing man we have ever known, a new reality that is inconceivable to us.  His grandchildren will never meet him. They will only know him through the stories we tell them.”

Previously, media outlets had reported that Levinson, who had retired from the FBI, had gone to Iran on an unauthorized mission for the CIA.

For a long time, the FBI had not given up hope of freeing Levinson, and the family up until now, held out hope as well.

“If not for the cruel, heartless actions of the Iranian regime, Robert Levinson would be alive and home with us today,” the family wrote. “It has been 13 years waiting for answers.  Thirteen years since we last saw him or had any contact with him. How those responsible in Iran could do this to a human being, while repeatedly lying to the world all this time, is incomprehensible to us. They kidnapped a foreign citizen and denied him any basic human rights, and his blood is on their hands.”

 Brian O’Hare, president of the FBI Agents Association issued a statement Wednesday:

“The FBI Agents Association, representing more than 14,000 active and former FBI Special Agents, sends its deepest sympathies to the family of former FBI Agent Robert Levinson.  The courage that the Levinson family showed over the past 13 years in their continued efforts to raise awareness about Bob’s disappearance and to bring him home has been an inspiration to all, including his former colleagues at the FBI.

We will not forget Bob and will support all efforts to bring to justice those responsible for this horrific crime.  We continue to stand with the Levinson family during this difficult time.”

National Security Investigative Producer  James Meek of ABC News, who reported on the latest development,  posted on Facebook:

“I’m sorry to say I have covered this case for 13 years. Today, it came to an end as retired FBI agent Bob Levinson’s family announced they now believe he died sometime ago as a hostage in Iran. They were told in a recent government briefing, and after years and years of fighting to bring him home, testifying in Congress, confronting Tehran’s diplomats at the United Nations, and never giving up on him, they have grudgingly accepted his fate. A very sad day.”

 

FBI Calls on Iran to Release Robert Levinson on 13th Anniversary of Disappearance

Robert Levinson, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI is calling on Iran to release former FBI Agent Robert A. Levinson on the 13th anniversary of his disappearance in 2007.

Calling him the “longest-held hostage in U.S. history,” the FBI issued a statement Tuesday renewing its repeated call on Iran to live up to its commitment to share information about Levinson’s whereabouts.

“Bob’s wife and family have been waiting for his return for 13 years, waiting for the government of Iran to make good on its commitment to help make that happen,” FBI Director Christopher Wray says in a new release. “Over those years Bob’s FBI family of agents, analysts, and professional staff have been working on his behalf with our interagency partners and will never cease the efforts to bring Bob home. We call on Iran to provide the necessary assistance and end this long wait so Bob’s family and friends get him back.”

Levinson, whose 72nd birthday is today, disappeared while on a CIA operation on Kish Island in Iran.

The Iranian government initially responded that it had detained Levinson but soon backed off that story and has since maintained it has no idea about Levinson’s whereabouts.

Some intelligence officials believe Levinson may be dead, but that hasn’t stopped the search.

The Department of State Rewards for Justice Program announced up to a $30 million reward last year for any information leading to Levinson’s whereabouts. The FBI is also offering a $5 million reward.

CBP Officers were Directed to Detain Iranian Americans at Border, Officer Alleges

Border Crossing in Blaine, Washington, via CBP.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

CBP officers were ordered to detain and question Iranian Americans at the Canadian Border after Iranian general Qasem Soleimani was killed in U.S. airstrikes, a CBP officer claims in an email to an immigration attorney, CNN reports.

The allegations contradict CBP’s official denial that officers were ordered to stop and question Iranian Americans at a border crossing in Blaine, Wash.

Dozens of Iranian Americans said they were detained and questioned at the border crossing following the killing of Soleimani.

In a Jan. 5 statement, CBP spokesman Matt Leas said “social media posts that CBP is detaining Iranian-Americans and refusing their entry into the U.S. because of their country of origin are false. Reports that DHS/CBP has issued a related directive are also false.”

The unnamed CBP officer who alleged there was a directive to stop and question Iranian Americans said the actions ended, but only after the issue “hit the national news.”

Secret Service Not Laughing at Comedian George Lopez’s Comment about Trump

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Secret Service isn’t laughing at comedian George Lopez’s joke about assassinating President Trump.

Lopez commented on a media account that indicated there was an $80 million bounty on Trump’s head after the assassination of Iranian Maj. Qasem Soleimani.

“We’ll do it for half,” Lopez wrote on the Chicago Worldstar post.

“The Secret Service is aware of the tweet made by Mr. Lopez,” agency said in a statement Tuesday. “The Secret Service takes all threats against the president and or any of our protectees seriously, and as a matter of practice, we do not comment on matters involving protective intelligence.”

It’s unclear whether the Secret Service plans to interview Lopez.

CBP Denies Detaining Iranian Americans at Border Crossings in Washington State

Border Crossing in Blaine, Washington, via CBP.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) denied reports that its agents were detaining Iranian Americans at a border crossing in Blaine, Wash.

“Social media posts that CBP is detaining Iranian-Americans and refusing their entry into the U.S. because of their country of origin are false,” CBP spokesman Mike Friel said in a statement.

He added, “Reports that DHS/CBP has issued a related directive are also false.”

The allegations were first leveled Sunday by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which said it was assisting more than 60 Iranians and Iranian-Americans who had been detained for 11-plus hours and questioned Saturday night at the Peace Arch Border Crossing in Blaine, Washington.

At least two Congresswomen retweeted the press release from CAIR.

Iran Says Disappearance of Robert Levinson Is an Ongoing ‘Missing Person’ Case

Robert Levinson

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The family of Robert Levinson, the former FBI agent who vanished in Iran in 2007, expressed some relief after the Iranian government changed its tone on his disappearance.

The government of Iran acknowledged for the first time that the disappearance is an ongoing “missing person” case.

Levinson “has no judicial or criminal case in any Islamic Republic of Iran court whatsoever,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi told reporters, The Associated Press reports.

President Trump said Iran’s acknowledgment was “a very positive step.”

“If Iran is able to turn over to the U.S. kidnapped former FBI Agent Robert A. Levinson, who has been missing in Iran for 12 years, it would be a very positive step,” President Trump tweeted Sunday night.

The State Department last week offered up to a $20 million reward for information leading to the safe return of Levinson, who is believed to have been abducted on March 9, 2007.

Hunt Continues for Missing FBI Agent Levinson 11 Years After Disappearance in Iran

Robert Levinson

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

It has been 11 years since former FBI agent Robert Levinson was last seen alive.

Levinson, who would have turned 70 years old on Saturday, disappeared while on a CIA operation on Kish Island in Iran.

The Iranian government initially responded that it had detained Levinson but soon backed off that story and has since maintained it has no idea about Levinson’s whereabouts.

“This is something the FBI has never forgotten. His fellow agents have never forgotten Bob,” Tom O’Connor, the head of the FBI Agents Association, told WTOP. “The FBI Agents Association stands with his family and with the FBI in the efforts that everyone is making to reunite Bob with his family.”

The FBI has not given up. O’Connor said.

“There are people that are dedicated to working nothing but the Bob Levinson kidnapping case,” he said.

Some intelligence officials believe Levinson may be dead, but that hasn’t stopped the search.

“By remembering these solemn anniversaries — 11 years is a long time — we hope that somebody will come forward with information. There’s a reward out there, $5 million, for the return of Bob Levinson to his family,” O’Connor said.

“Representatives of the Government of Iran and the United States agreed to cooperate in sharing information which would lead to Mr. Levinson’s return,” the FBI said in a statement on Friday. “The FBI calls on the government of Iran to uphold this commitment so that Mr. Levinson and his family can be reunited.”

In his experience, O’Connor said he’s not giving up hope.

“I’ve worked on hostage cases in the past where someone was held in Iraq for 311 days, and it just was one piece of information that broke and he was reunited with his family,” he said. “People didn’t think that was going to happen and it did, so never give up hope.”